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Match Preview – Saracens v Gloucester Rugby

Match Preview – Saracens v Gloucester Rugby
It’s the Gallagher Premiership semi-finals this weekend, and the Cherry and Whites will go toe-to-toe with Saracens for a spot in the Grand Final next weekend as they lock horns on Saturday afternoon (KO 1.30pm)

With thousands of Cherry and White supporters making their way to North London for the semi-final, a big afternoon is expected, and a huge task awaits the visitors against the reigning domestic Champions and new European Champions.

Here are some players to keep an eye on this weekend.

Ruan Ackermann

The battle of the two packs will arguably be the one to keep the closest eye on this weekend, as the two set of forwards go up against each other looking to set the tone, and unleash their back lines. Ackermann will be key for the visitors to keep them on the front foot, and won’t take a step backwards in attack and defence.

Alex Goode

The European Player of the Season is in fine form, and arguably one of the most dangerous runners in the English game. Able to create, distribute and run through the best of defences, Goode will be one player that the Cherry and Whites will be very keen to keep quiet this weekend.

Last Time Out

Sale Sharks 46-41 Gloucester Rugby

Worcester Warriors 31-29 Saracens

Match Facts

This match will be the 3,000th game of Premiership Rugby since the tournament began almost 22 years ago. It is Saracens’ 11th appearance at the semi-final stage where their record is won six, lost four, although they have won four of the last five.

Four of those semi-finals have been played at Allianz Park where their only defeat was to Northampton in 2013. Saracens defeat at Worcester on Saturday was their sixth this season in Gallagher Premiership Rugby and all of those have been since November. Saracens are unbeaten in any home game at any venue since Leicester’s 28-20 victory at Allianz Park on 25 February 2018

Gloucester Rugby have appeared in just three previous Gallagher Premiership Rugby semi-finals, and two of those were against Saracens. Their only victory at this stage was against Saracens at Kingsholm in 2007, whilst their two defeats were at home to Leicester in 2008 and away to Saracens at Vicarage Road in 2011. Gloucester’s only victory in the last three rounds of Premiership Rugby was at home to relegated Newcastle in Round 21.

The last seven meetings between the two clubs in Gallagher Premiership Rugby have all been won by the home side on the day. Gloucester have lost on all six previous visits they have made to Allianz Park.

Team News

Saracens

15. Alex Goode, 14. Liam Williams, 13. Alex Lozowski, 12. Brad Barritt, 11. Sean Maitland, 10. Owen Farrell, 9. Ben Spencer; 1. Richard Barrington, 2. Jamie George, 3. Vincent Koch; 4. Will Skelton, 5. George Kruis, 6. Maro Itoje, 7. Jackson Wray, 8. Billy Vunipola

Replacements

16. Joe Gray, 17. Ralph Adams-Hale, 18. Christian Judge, 19. Nick Isiekwe, 20. Mike Rhodes, 21. Richard Wigglesworth, 22. Nick Tompkins, 23. David Strettle 

Gloucester Rugby

15. Jason Woodward, 14. Charlie Sharples, 13. Billy Twelvetrees, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Tom Marshall, 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Willi Heinz (capt); 1. Josh Hohneck, 2. Franco Marais, 3. Fraser Balmain; 4. Ed Slater, 5. Franco Mostert; 6. Ruan Ackermann, 7. Jaco Kriel, 8. Ben Morgan

Replacements:

16. Mike Sherry, 17. Val Rapava Ruskin, 18. Ruan Dreyer; 19. Tom Savage, 20. Lewis Ludlow, 21. Jake Polledri, 22. Ben Vellacott, 23. Henry Purdy.

Match Officials

Referee: Luke Pearce (91st Premiership game, first semi-final).

Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson & Paul Dix

TMO: David Grashoff

Citing Officer: Buster White

How To Follow

This Saturday’s game is live on BT Sport, and there will be live commentary via BBC Radio Gloucestershire who will in place at the Allianz Park.

Follow all of the club channels for live updates on the matchday live blog on the club website, Twitter and behind the scenes on Instagram.

Enjoy the game!
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